The US intelligence service will continue spying on foreign governments, President Barack Obama said in an interview on Saturday, despite a global outrage over the matter.
Obama said the collection of billions of data records by the US National Security Agency (NSA) would go on to protect America, AFP reported.
In Friday's long-awaited speech aimed at quelling international furor over the widespread eavesdropping revealed by Edward Snowden, Obama also said he had halted spy taps on friendly world leaders.
But in an interview broadcasted on German television Saturday, Obama said intelligence gathering on foreign governments will continue.
"Our intelligence agencies, like German intelligence agencies, and every intelligence agency out there, will continue to be interested in the government intentions of countries around the world. That's not going to change," he told German television ZDF's heute-journal.
"And there is no point in having an intelligence service if you are restricted to the things that you can read in the New York Times or Der Spiegel."
"The truth of the matter is that by definition the job of intelligence is to find out, well, what are folks thinking? What are they doing," he said.